By now, you’ve likely already heard your fair share of talk about search engine optimization (SEO) in the office. There isn’t a marketing team around that hasn’t put some time and effort into making popular search engines happy to rank higher. Local SEO drives traffic to your site, enhances pay-per-click (PPC) success, builds trust and credibility, and increases brand awareness.
It’s especially helpful for local marketing opportunities.
According to Finances Online, local queries account for almost half of Google’s two trillion searches per year, and over 50% of ‘near me’ searches result in an in-person visit. The report also found that 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else.
Local SEO for lawyers is even more important when you have multiple office locations. Here’s how you can improve each office’s local presence with a solid SEO strategy.
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Things to Consider When Opening a New Location For Your Law Firm
Opening a new location — whether it’s your second, third, fourth, or 50th — offers an incredible opportunity for your law firm. You’re expanding your footprint and reaching more of your target audience with your services. But, before diving into what local SEO strategies will benefit your new office most, it’s important to take the time to consider a few things about your new location.
First and foremost, you must have clear objectives about what it is you want to accomplish with another office.
Setting goals for the purpose of expanding into new locations ensures that the process is a smooth success. It also gives you the opportunity to assess whether the location is the right fit for your expansion purposes.
Start by asking yourself:
- Do you want to reach more potential clients in new areas?
- Did you need more space because you ran out of room?
- Are you trying to enhance and grow your law firm’s reputation?
- Will a new law office give you more top talent access?
These questions are essential to consider because your answers can often be an excellent guide for your process.
For instance, if you want to reach a new audience in a new area, have a clear idea of the market environment. Where are most local searches for attorneys being done in your geographic area? Since local search engine results depend, in large part, on proximity to user inquiries, you’ll want to consider an office close to where those searches are made.
Doing your research before making a move is arguably the most important step to expanding your business into multiple office locations.
First: Keep Google’s Local SEO Ranking Factors in Mind
We’ve discussed the top three local SEO ranking factors before, but it’s worth repeating – especially if you’re growing your practice and adding another office.
As you grow your legal practice – whether you’re adding another location in your city or expanding into new markets – it’s important to remember that you’ll have to adjust your marketing efforts to maximize your ROI.
Remember, when it comes to local searches Google cares about:
- Proximity, and
You’ll want to pay particular attention to proximity when choosing an office location (the closer you are to the heart of where searches are being done, the better).
Critical On-Site Optimization Strategies
First and foremost, user experience (UX) on your page plays a notable role in how search engines rank you. In fact, Google announced in early 2021 that they would be sending out a page experience update that measures your loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability.
Note that Google still says that they seek “to rank pages with the best information overall, even if the page experience is subpar.” However, it will favor the page with a better customer experience if there are multiples with relevant information.
Aside from UX, your website should also be optimized in the following for local relevance.
Create Contact Us Pages For Each Location
You don’t just have to have one contact us page. You can create a contact us page for each individual office location. Create a general contact us landing page and then provide an avenue to all of your different locations.
Make each contact us page as relevant as you can to the law office’s location. Don’t just give potential clients the address and phone number – tell them what’s nearby your law office and how they can get to you. Consider driving directions, how to use mass transit, and other useful information – like where to park.
If you have different hours for different locations, this is the place to really drive that home. Is a certain location only open on certain days and/or limited hours? Do you offer “by appointment only” services? Let clients know.
This is the information that will really help to boost the user experience and geographic relevance for your various locations.
Location-Focused Content Silos
Let’s say you opened your first law office in downtown Los Angeles. Then you expanded and opened offices in Burbank and Beverly Hills. You don’t want all of the content on your site to be focused on Los Angeles. You want to target content for Burbank and Beverly Hills, too.
The best way to do this is by creating individual content silos for each city. Create practice area pages for each city. Write blogs for each city (and link back to the relevant location silo). Customize your title tags and meta descriptions so that you’re speaking to your reader and Google, too.
For SEO purposes, include:
- Your location
- Location-specific keywords
- Target keywords
- An inbound link to your domain
- Proximity to your business, and
- Physical address.
Dedicate relevant content to each location. This way, the visitor on your site can resonate with the location that is near them.
Focus on the locations wherever you have a law office.
Schema markup lets you talk directly to Google behind the scenes. It’s code you place on your website that tells the search engine them all about your law firm and the services you provide. You should absolutely use local schema markup to boost your local SEO efforts in each and every marketing in which you’re competing.
For more help on this, check out our step-by-step guide to adding structured data markup for local SEO.
Important Off-Site Optimization Strategies
Just as your websites need to be optimized for the best local SEO results, there are some very important off-site optimizations you’ll need to do to achieve success.
Off-site optimizing measures include:
Optimize a Google My Business Profile For Each Office Location
Don’t dismiss the importance of Google My Business profiles. GMB is an invaluable tool and, if handled correctly, this free tool and yield huge dividends on return.
You will need a GMB for EACH location to improve local search results.
If you have law offices in Manhattan and the Bronx, just one GMB profile won’t cut it if you want to see local SEO results. Instead, create a profile for each office and make sure that each one is optimized to be hyper-local to the area.
Keep in mind that you will have to prove that you have a staffed brick-and-mortar location for each office for each GMB listing.
Get Local Reviews
Reviews are important for both ranking and consumer interest. In fact, at least 82% of consumers say they consult reviews to find out more about local businesses.
Ask clients to leave reviews on Google – and direct them to the GMB for the office in which they obtained your services. If they got help from your Bronx location, make sure their review is reflected on your Bronx GMB. Building reviews across all GMB platforms will be important.
Make sure you respond to those reviews, too. It shows you care and are engaged in your practice – and people actually take notice of that kind of thing. One study found that companies that respond to reviews at least 25% of the time yield about 35% more revenue.
Update Legal Directory Listings to Reflect All Areas Served
You can’t create a new profile on sites like Avvo or Justia every time you open a new office. But, you can optimize your legal directory profiles for local SEO by adding in all of your office locations and providing information about the services you provide at each one.
Don’t forget to update your social media profiles, too. Let your followers and prospective clients on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms know that you have multiple locations to better serve them.
Get Featured in Local Directories (AKA Local Listings)
When executed correctly, local directories can be an excellent source for directing traffic, increasing ranking, and improving your reputation for all your locations. It’s often free (GMB, BBB, etc.) and adds credibility to your firm. The local listings you use can vary since each location will be in different localities, and each location should only be in directories relevant to their location.
Obtain Locally-Relevant Inbound Links
If your goal is to rank on page one of Google, inbound links should be at the core of your strategy. Although 66.31% of pages have no backlinks, most top-ranking pages get ‘followed’ backlinks from new websites at a pace of +5%-14.5% per month.
If you can, obtain links from local businesses and entities. Alternatively, vary where you direct your inbound links – don’t just dump them all on the homepage or into one location silo. Spread the link juice throughout your locations to maximize the results you see.
The Importance of Mobile Optimization for Local SEO
It is no longer just “nice to have” a mobile-friendly website. It is absolutely vital that all your location sites are created with mobile users in mind. Not only has Google included mobile-friendly in their earlier customer experience update (as well as a mobile-friendly test), but most people are on their mobiles when they’re researching businesses.
If your firm isn’t mobile-friendly, you risk them clicking on your site and off it just as quickly.
- There are more searches on mobile than desktop.
- More than half of all web traffic now comes from mobile.
- 58% of people feel more favorable towards organizations with mobile sites and apps.
- 60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly using search results.
- If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, visitors are five times more likely to leave.
If your law firm’s website isn’t optimized for the mobile user, now is the time to get started.
How to Optimize Your Law Firm’s Website for Mobile Users
Now that you know the importance of optimizing your site for mobile, here are some tips:
- The content on each site should be broken into ‘snackable’ sections. This means that paragraphs are short, keeping a good amount of white space in between your content. Mobile users prefer this structure because it allows them to scan through your content more quickly.
- Your site loading should be within three seconds. More often than not, users click off your site and go to another if the load time is longer than three seconds.
- Small screens mean it can be more challenging to navigate websites. To make your website more mobile-friendly, you’ll want to simplify your website as much as possible and keep everything visible with the need for zooming in or out, searching around, etc.
- Common tasks should be easy for users to take action. This means that mobile users should have no trouble accessing your location’s contact page, physical location information, and service pages. It only takes a small bump in the road while trying to take action to disappoint mobile users and lose their business.
Check that all of your location SILOs appear correctly on mobile devices. Just because one part of your website looks good doesn’t mean every page will. Any distraction, irritation, or inconvenience could cost you a valuable lead.
Increase Your ROI By Ranking in the Local Pack
Local SEO has never been more competitive. Your ability to rank in the local three-pack can provide a tremendous ROI.
One study found that 44% of users choose a website featured in the local snack pack. Organic results followed with 29% of user clicks. So, by extension, nearly half of all users performing a local search aren’t scrolling down to see organic results.
Plus, a recent 2021 study found that ranking in the local pack means a 400% increase in visibility and a 100% increase in clicks.
The more work you put into getting featured in the local pack, the better your chances of getting those coveted clicks.
Some research suggests that just moving up one spot on the SERP can increase your relative click-through-rate (CTR) by more than 30%.
This means that even a small improvement can make all the difference for your location.
The best way to cut through competition is through proper local SEO strategies for law firms focused on the right people. This means that each location is treated as if it is a separate entity from the other to ensure potential clients in each area can build relationships with the office (staff, lawyers, etc.) closest to them.
It takes a lot of expertise and experience in the field to ensure it is crafted and delivered correctly. Fortunately, you don’t have to take on the challenge by yourself. Hire the best law firm SEO company to help each of your locations rank in the right areas.
LawRank has tried-and-true local SEO strategies, as well as a demonstrated ability to help law firms like yours thrive in local search results.
Contact our specialists for more insight and resources on how local SEO can put you and your locations on the local map.